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Ants and worms in Apartment


Ants and Worms In Apartment

I recently moved into a new apartment. Since I moved in I have been trying to get rid of ants that is living in the window frames, seems like they enter through a whole were a bos screw used to be. I have sprayed insect repellent but they keep on coming back. When I woke up yesterday morning my living room floor was black with ants on a cloe up they were carying worms. My entire living room and kitchen floor was full of worms. They were little about 1 cm white worms and the last small bit of their tale is black. The insect repellent I sprayed didn't kill them. Please help what can I do that is healthy to use inside a home, I cannot breath in my home from all the repellent but seems like all the insects can. Theirs a lot of spiders that also don't go away. I live in South Africa. I am thinking of moving as this is really bad but I just moved. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.


Dear Ellen:

South Africa embraces a whole different Eco-system than my part of the World; however, there are always similarities when pointing out ant behavior and point of activity.

 You describe ants that, from my experience, may belong to a genus of ants known as Crematogaster, commonly called Acrobat ants in many parts of the world.

These ants are shiny and black and have a heart-shaped abdomen.  They will lift their abdomen upward when disturbed in such a way as to be called acrobat ants because of this behavior.  They are tiny; about 2.6 to 3.2 mm in length.  They, like many other specie will trail one behind the other when travelling to and from a food source.  When startled by an intruder, they will swiftly scatter in all directions.

It appears from your description, that your floor covered by ants carrying 1cm length worms, were ants carrying their pupae(third metamorphic stage of development--e.g., egg,larva, pupa, adult).  This phenomenon was probably that ants were in the process of swarming.  This can occur when ants split their colony in two or more parts. This happens while overcrowding has reduced the efficiency of the original colony, and, since there are multiple queens within a single colony, the colony could have been stimulated to send portions of their population elsewhere.  In so doing, they carried with them some of the colony's pupae.

Acrobat ants can infest older deteriorating wood, often occupying vacant termite tunnels.  They usually spread out on the horizontal in or between layers of wood such as your window frame.  These ants are, by no means exclusive to the house, but can be found under bark of trees and within portions of trees and shrubs that are dead.  They will also occupy the pith which is the interior of many plants.

I would contact a local pesticide supplier, who can recommend an ant bait that should be placed along walls where ants are traveling.  You can test ant taste preference by placing a protein such as bacon or dry cheese, or peanut butter on a piece of wax paper, as well as a sweet such as granular sugar or honey, within their travel area.  With information gained by your observation, you can purchase a bait containing a toxicant such as Fipronyl, boric acid, or avermectine.

I would not continue to use repellents such as you, have used.  You may have caused the whole colony to get up and leave because they were highly disturbed. They will only relocate somewhere else in your house. Besides that, you are doing nothing to eliminate these creatures.  The repellents will destroy the pheromone trails placed by foraging ants to signal other foragers to follow the trail to a selected food site but they'll form new trails later.

Our website, may be useful to you.

I hope that I have been helpful, Ellen.

Good luck, and be successful,

George Manning

Consulting Entomologist

American Pest Solutions

Pest Control Chicago


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